Priest in sex scandal is on rehab

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Sunday, December 11, 2011


THE priest who was accused by some acolytes and parishioners of having sex with two women at the back of the church in separate occasions is now undergoing a ‘processed program’ or rehabilitation in a secluded church retreat house facility in a southern town of Cebu. This, following the decision and advice of his colleagues in the team ministry. The team ministry is composed of five priests.

Eight acolytes and members of the Church Lay Ministry had asked Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to discipline the priest because of immoral acts in the church premises. The acolytes claimed that in three occasions they witnessed the priest having sex with two different women in a dark area at the back of the church. One of the girls whom the priest had sex was a schoolmate of one of the acolytes during their high school days.

In their separate letters, the acolytes said, they had witnessed the priest’s sexual encounters when they trailed him to the area. They did that because they were curious why the priest would always go there after his evening mass. There, they saw the woman who gained entry through the back gate, waiting for the priest. And on a small table, they had their sexual intercourse. The first and second sexual encounters were with the same woman. But in the third, it was another woman. This priest must have seen the movie “No Other Woman.”

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When the rumors about the priest’s sexual behavior spread like ‘wildfire’ among the parishioners, the members of the team ministry decided to call a meeting and advised the concerned priest to undergo ‘processed program’ for committing something “beyond boundaries.” That is why the priest was no longer seen in the church for a month.

The ‘processed program’ would usually take several months and this would include psychological intervention because it involves the priest’s sexual behavior, which is a clear violation of the Church dogma on the vow of celibacy. After the ‘processed program,’ it is up to the church hierarchy to reassign him to another parish or place him on a floating status. A church insider said that local church officials cannot just dismiss priests who committed questionable conduct and inappropriate acts because it would usually take a long process. The decision to dismiss priests is in the hands of the Pope. The Vatican would just issue dispensation for those who want to leave the ministry. Church hierarchy would usually give erring priests a second chance to reform. Well, that would be fair enough.

Putting a priest on a floating status is already a penalty. Aw, mao ra diay nay silot sa simbahan. Hikawan lang ug panginabuhian ang mga paring badlungon. Priests who are on floating status would usually ask their colleagues who are assigned in a parish if they can officiate mass so they have also income for their personal needs. Pa-extra-extra lang usa. Kay kung walay income si Father, aw, pasmong bitok. Way pang-madjong.

By the way, many of our friends in the media are asking who this priest is. Well, I am sorry I cannot divulge his name.

***

Talking of priest, Fr. Mark Barneso, who figured in a controversy with a policeman in Pinamungajan, where he was assigned as assistant priest, has been transferred to a parish in Mandaue. This, following the decision of his district superiors and no less than Archbishop Palma. Fr. Mark’s superiors decided to transfer him because of his safety and security.

Fr. Mark has been receiving death threats through text messages after he complained about the inaction of the town’s policemen regarding a trouble alarm at the town plaza last Sunday night. He argued with SPO1 Bartolome Fajardo who was on duty at the time.

Fr. Mark claimed that Fajardo was so arrogant. The policeman is now facing an investigation and has been re-assigned at the provincial headquarters.

Well, at least church officials are also concerned about their priest. Majority of the priests have shown support to Fr. Mark. But his senior parish head, has allegedly never shown concern to him. Fr. Orly has been so indifferent to Fr. Mark since this young priest was assigned there a year ago.

Naa sab diay professional jealosy ning mga pari. Sigeg panawagan sa ilang parokyano nga magkahi-usa unya sila diay walay maayong relasyon. Pagkatoytoy!

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2011.

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